Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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NHL cancels schedule through Oct. 24; Aeros trim roster by 12

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news, Wild training camp Updated: October 4, 2012 - 4:07 PM

The NHL canceled the regular-season schedule through Oct. 24, meaning games from Oct. 11-24 won't  be played.

That affects five Wild games -- three at home.

The wording of the league's release was somewhat vague, the reason being that there is a brief window to reshuffle the schedule and have an 82-game season per team if there is a quick solution to the lockout.

Of course, the way talks are going, that is slim.

Said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly in an email to the Star Tribune: "It was an extremely disappointing but necessary decision. There is simply not enough days left to open the regular season on time. We remain committed to continuing to work hard to try to figure something out that will result in the breakthrough we need to get this agreement done and behind us. But obviously, we haven't been able to do that yet. And for better or worse, we need a negotiating partner to make that happen."

In a statement, NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr said, “The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners. If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue. A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort. For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock-out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions. Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner.”

Players expected the cancellations when I spoke to them earlier this week.

“It’s not like tomorrow I’m going to wake up and be shocked that we’re not starting on time,” said Vancouver Canucks defenseman Keith Ballard, a former Gopher who is skating and working out weekly in the Twin Cities.

“People ask me every day what I think is going to happen, are we going to play this season, I have no clue. I don’t know. Obviously it’s going to take two sides. We’ve been willing to negotiate and talk, but they think a certain way, and unless they get it, they don’t want to talk, I guess.”

The NHL has made three proposals off a July 13 initial proposal that cuts the player share from 57 percent of league revenue under the final year of the expired CBA to 47 percent in the final four years of a new six-year proposed CBA.

The league has made clear that’s negotiable, but the union, in the league’s mind, hasn’t budged or made a proposal since its first and only proposal Aug. 14.

The NHL has said it will not make another proposal until the union counters last month’s NHL proposal. The union has refused, saying this isn’t a game of “Ping-Pong.”

More than 100 players have already left to play in Europe for the duration of the lockout. That includes the Wild’s Jared Spurgeon and perhaps soon Zach Parise, who has an offer to join Spurgeon in the Swiss League.

More players are expected to flood Europe, while others, like Ballard, who skates four times a week in St. Louis Park and works out every morning with the Gophers’ hockey team at Mariucci Arena, plans to stay put for now.

“I guess we continue to do what we’ve been doing, which gets old, but it’s part of your job and part of what you need to do to stay sharp and to stay in shape,” Ballard said. “We’ve given a couple good proposals, and as a union, our last proposal was pretty good.

“But just kind of reading through what Bill Daly and the league is saying, nothing is going to happen unless we change. So we’ll see what happens, I guess. It doesn’t sound overly encouraging from that standpoint.”

Technically, because the league has not canceled games outright and is reserving the right to reschedule, some teams aren't going to issue immediate refunds.

The Wild isn't one of those teams.

The Wild is offering the second-highest interest in the league to keep money in your accounts -- 10 percent APR. I believe Nashville is 10.5.

When a game is at least postponed or canceled, from that moment, if a season-ticket holder keeps their money in their account, the STH would receive 10% APR interest for each day it remains canceled or postponed and last until the NHL announces a new schedule.

I assume because of the 10 percent, Wild COO Matt Majka says a minuscule amount of fans are actually asking for refunds. The Wild will immediately begin cutting checks to those fans. Those checks will be cut the 15th of every month for the value of the games canceled the previous month.

In other words, on Oct. 15, the preseason games scrapped from last month will be refunded. If no games are played this month, on Nov. 15, the October home games will be refunded.

In other news:

The Houston Aeros, the Wild's American Hockey League affiliate who open their season at home against Charlotte on Oct. 13, trimmed their roster by 12.

No surprises and it's essentially what I wrote on the blog Sunday:

Colton Jobke was returned to his Western Hockey League, Regina, where the Wild says there's a chance he may be a captain.

Others dismissed from Houston?

Sean Lorenz, Kyle Medvec and Josh Caron were sent to ECHL Orlando, as was Ryan Ginand, Corbin Baldwin, Nick Petersen and Rob Mignardi.

Eric Lampe was assigned to ECHL Las Vegas, while Mike Montgomery, Ryley Grantham and Brennan Vargas were sent to CHL Allen.

The remaining Houston roster looks like this:

Forwards: Joel Broda, Brett Bulmer, Charlie Coyle, Kris Foucault, Justin Fontaine, Mikael Granlund, Johan Larsson, David McIntyre, Carson McMillan, Jarod Palmer, Nick Palmieri, Zack Phillips, Chad Rau, Jason Zucker.

Defense: Drew Bagnall, Jonas Brodin, Brian Connelly, Tyler Cuma, Kris Fredheim, Chay Genoway, Steven Kampfer, Marco Scandella.

Goalies: Mike Brodeur, John Curry, Matt Hackett, Darcy Kuemper.

As you can see, Palmieri finally signed his AHL deal and has arrived.

Not to add to your depression, but here's one final look at the 2012-13 Wild schedule as we once knew it:

MINNESOTA WILD 2012-13 SCHEDULE

DAY DATE OPPONENT TIME (CT)
SEPTEMBER – PRESEASON
Tue. 25 Dallas (@ Boise, ID) 8:00 P.M.
WED. 26 DALLAS 7:00 P.M.
THUR. 27 ST. LOUIS 7:00 P.M.
Sat. 29 @ St. Louis 7:00 P.M.
OCTOBER – PRE SEASON
TUE. 2 WINNIPEG 7:00 P.M.
Thur. 4 @ Winnipeg 7:00 P.M.
Sat. 6 @ Calgary 8:00 P.M.

OCTOBER – REGULAR SEASON
SAT, 13 COLORADO 7:00 P.M.
TUE. 16 COLUMBUS 7:00 P.M.
Thur. 18 @ Dallas 7:00 p.m.
Sat. 20 @ St. Louis 7:00 p.m.
TUE. 23 MONTREAL 7:00 P.M.
Fri. 26 @ Columbus 6:00 p.m.
SAT. 27 FLORIDA 7:00 P.M.
MON. 29 WASHINGTON 7:00 P.M.

NOVEMBER
THUR. 1 LOS ANGELES 7:00 P.M.
Sat. 3 @ Tampa Bay 6:00 p.m.
Tue. 6 @ Boston 6:00 p.m.
Thur. 8 @ N.Y. Rangers 6:00 p.m.
Sat. 10 @ Detroit 6:00 p.m.
Sun. 11 @ New Jersey 4:00 p.m.
Tue. 13 @ Philadelphia 6:00 p.m.
THUR. 15 ST. LOUIS 7:00 P.M.
SAT. 17 DETROIT 7:00 P.M.
Mon. 19 @ Vancouver 9:00 p.m.
Tue. 20 @ Calgary 8:00 p.m.
FRI. 23 TORONTO 5:00 P.M.
Mon. 26 @ Pittsburgh 6:00 p.m.
WED. 28 CHICAGO 7:00 P.M.
Fri. 30 @ Colorado 8:00 p.m.

DECEMBER
Sat. 1 @ Nashville 7:00 p.m.
Wed. 5 @ Phoenix 8:30 p.m.
Sat. 8 @ Los Angeles 9:30 p.m.
Sun. 9 @ Anaheim 7:00 p.m.
Wed. 12 @ St. Louis 7:00 p.m.
FRI. 14 EDMONTON 7:00 P.M.
SAT. 15 N.Y. ISLANDERS 7:00 P.M.
TUE. 18 CHICAGO 7:00 P.M.
THUR. 20 VANCOUVER 7:00 P.M.
SAT. 22 COLORADO 7:00 P.M.
WED. 26 DALLAS 7:00 P.M.
FRI. 28 BUFFALO 7:00 P.M.
Sat. 29 @ Dallas 7:00 p.m.
MON. 31 EDMONTON 5:00 P.M.

DAY DATE OPPONENT TIME (CT)
JANUARY
Wed. 2 @ Winnipeg 6:30 p.m.
THUR. 3 CALGARY 7:00 P.M.
SAT. 5 NASHVILLE 7:00 P.M.
Wed. 9 @ Anaheim 9:00 p.m.
Thur. 10 @ Los Angeles 9:30 p.m.
Sat. 12 @ San Jose 9:30 p.m.
TUE. 15 ANAHEIM 7:00 P.M.
THUR. 17 SAN JOSE 7:00 P.M.
SAT. 19 PITTSBURGH 8:00 P.M.
TUE. 22 LOS ANGELES 7:00 P.M.
Sun. 27 NHL All-Star Game (Columbus, OH)
TUE. 29 PHILADELPHIA 7:00 P.M.

FEBRUARY
Fri. 1 @ Carolina 6:00 p.m.
Sat. 2 @ Columbus 6:00 p.m.
Tue. 5 @ N.Y. Islanders 6:00 p.m.
THUR. 7 VANCOUVER 7:00 P.M.
SAT. 9 COLORADO 7:00 P.M.
Mon. 11 @ Vancouver 9:00 p.m.
Wed. 13 @ Calgary 8:30 p.m.
Thur. 14 @ Edmonton 8:30 p.m.
SUN. 17 DETROIT 6:30 P.M.
TUE. 19 NASHVILLE 7:00 P.M.
Thur. 21 @ Edmonton 8:30 p.m.
Sat. 23 @ Calgary 9:00 p.m.
TUE. 26 CALGARY 7:00 P.M.

MARCH
Fri. 1 @ Chicago 7:30 p.m.
SUN. 3 OTTAWA 5:00 P.M.
TUE. 5 EDMONTON 7:00 P.M.
Sat. 9 @ Nashville 7:00 p.m.
SUN. 10 VANCOUVER 5:00 P.M.
TUE. 12 PHOENIX 7:00 P.M.
THUR. 14 ANAHEIM 7:00 P.M.
Sat. 16 @ Colorado 2:00 p.m.
Mon. 18 @ Vancouver 9:00 p.m.
Tue. 19 @ Edmonton 8:30 p.m.
SAT. 23 SAN JOSE 1:00 P.M.
TUE. 26 CALGARY 7:00 P.M.
WED. 27 PHOENIX 8:00 P.M.
SAT. 30 ST. LOUIS 7:00 P.M.

APRIL
Mon. 1 @ Chicago 7:30 p.m.
Wed. 3 @ San Jose 9:30 p.m.
Fri. 5 @ Colorado 8:00 p.m.
Sat. 6 @ Phoenix 8:00 p.m.
Tue. 9 @ Detroit 6:30 p.m.
THUR. 11 DALLAS 7:00 P.M.
SAT. 13 COLUMBUS 7:00 P.M.

BOLD INDICATES HOME GAME
DATES AND TIMES SUBJECT TO CHANGE

 

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